Jiří Skopal, choral conductor and music educator, was born on August 15, 1947 in Velké Losiny, Czech Republic. Skopal received his first music education from his father, Jan Skopal, a choral conductor of North Moravia’s Teachers’ Association. For his Master’s in Education, he studied in Olomouc from 1965 to 1969, and received his doctorate in 1973. In 1982, he was named Associate Professor at the Charles University in Prague, and in 1994 he became a full Professor. Even Skopal’s very first choir, which was founded at the primary and secondary school in Postřelmov, won first prize in a regional singing competition in 1972. In the years 1968–82, he worked as a vocal adviser for the North Moravia’s Teachers’ Association, and in 1971 he started another choir in Mohelnice. Since 1974, he has been teaching at the University of Hradec Králové, where from 1986–90 he was head of the music department and founded a new choral conducting course. He has authored publications on music psychology, history, and management of boy choirs, as well as theory and methodology in choral singing. In 1977, he took over the management of the choir from Josef Vrátil, and a year later, the choir changed its name to the Královéhradecký Children’s Choir Jitro. He has achieved major national and international success with this group at concerts in Europe, Asia, the United States, and Australia. He continues to work as the choir conductor and music director of Jitro. Skopal and his wife, Květa Skopalová, also founded a boy’s choir, Boni Pueri, in 1982–96. In total, Skopal has recorded 44 albums with his choirs, conducted more than 3,500 concerts, and in the year 2000, received the Primus Inter Pares award for an exceptional benefit to the culture from the Mayor of Hradec Králové. Skopal has also been a judge in national and international competitions, as well as a lecturer of conducting courses in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Albums

GRATIAS - album cover

Gratias

Release Date: May 28, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6350
20th Century
Liturgical
Vocal Music
Choir
The Jitro Czech Girls Choir and conductor Jiří Skopal return with GRATIAS on Navona Records. The commemorative album pays homage to Czech composer Ilja Hurník, whose playful compositions perfectly match the joyful imagination of youth without sacrificing a sliver of musical integrity. Also a prolific author, Hurnik infuses his compositions with narrative texts that give the music a storybook quality.
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Openings

Release Date: May 8, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6288
Folk Music
Liturgical
Vocal Music
Choir
Their fourth release with Navona Records, OPENINGS by the Jitro Czech Girls Choir and conductor Jiří Skopal presents the rich beauty of the Czech Republic’s national dances, folk texts, and songs for audiences around the world.
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In Heaven

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6228
21st Century
Liturgical
Vocal Music
Choir
Organ
The Jitro Czech Girls Choir, under the leadership of conductor and music director Jiří Skopal, presents yet another vivid exploration of the depths of traditional Czechoslovakian music on their fourth release with Navona, JITRO IN HEAVEN. The tone for the album is set by Liturgical Chants, five pieces which express the spiritual and musical code of European culture. These pieces are composed by Petr Eben, an icon of 20th-century Czech music.
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Hymnus

Release Date: July 13, 2018
Catalog Number: NV6168
Folk Music
Vocal Music
Choir
On HYMNUS, the world renowned Jitro Czech Girls Choir under the direction of Jiří Skopal once again delivers refined, dazzling interpretations of the music that is so much a part of Czech culture. The album, which is the Choir’s third release on Navona Records, includes 24 selections that range from Moravian and Silesian folk songs on which the Choir interprets the subtle call and response between bucolic lovers, to a series of compositions inspired by Latin proverbs on which intricate, multidimensional vocals underscore the significance of a simple word or phrase.
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Parallel Worlds

Release Date: June 9, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6101
21st Century
Liturgical
Vocal Music
Choir
With PARALLEL WORLDS, Czech composer Jan Jirásek provides a portal into his intricately textured and resonant choral music. These works are enhanced by Czech children’s choir JITRO, whose singers imbibe Jirásek’s delicate and earnest compositions with authority, maturity, and captivating grace.
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